Mathieu Flamini Red Card: How Arsenal Will Cope in Midfielder's Absence

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2014

Arsenal's French midfielder Mathieu Flamini, passes  the ball, during the Champions League Group F soccer match against Marseille, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Claude Paris/Associated Press

At the end of Arsenal's disappointing 2-2 draw against Southampton, things got even worse when Mathieu Flamini was sent off with a red card.

James Olley of the London Evening Standard described the play, which took place in the 80th minute:

Fox Soccer Trax also provided some context for the incident:

Still, this will force Flamini out of action for four matches due to the red card (per John Cross of the Daily Mirror). This could be devastating with upcoming matches against Liverpool and Manchester United in that time. 

The positive news is that Arsenal are finally starting to get healthy in the midfield after dealing with various injuries throughout the year. Mikel Arteta returned to action against Southampton for his first appearance in a few weeks, and he showed some promise while playing all 90 minutes.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Mikel Arteta of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at Boleyn Ground on December 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

More importantly, Aaron Ramsey is set to return after missing a month with a thigh injury. Alex Richards of Mirror Football reported the midfielder would be able to return against Southampton, although he was not selected to the squad.

Still, if Ramsey is close to being healthy, it would be a big boost to the Gunners. The midfielder has been excellent this season, totaling eight goals and six assists in 18 appearances in league play. lists him as Arsenal's best player this season, while Manchester City coach Patrick Vieira called him "the most consistent player in the Premier League," via James Gheerbrant of The Independent.

With a favorable match against Crystal Palace coming up, Ramsey can ease back into the line-up. On the other hand, he could use that contest as another week of rest before the important battles against Liverpool and Manchester United.

Mathieu Flamini receives a red card against Southampton.
Mathieu Flamini receives a red card against Southampton.Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

On the other hand, Arsenal could be in trouble if Ramsey remains out. The club would probably have to use someone like Tomas Rosicky or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, two players who would represent a decent drop-off in talent.

Arsenal have enough depth to overcome Flamini's impending suspension, but it was still a pointless foul that will hurt the club for the next few matches. Even if he was not playing well before being booked, he is a necessary part of the squad. 

After missing out on two points due to a draw against Southampton, this could end up being devastating for Arsenal's chances of contending for a league title. 


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